The most successful driver in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series history looks to hit a historic number at one of the biggest races of the 2019 season: Sixteen-time Funny Car champ John Force is after his 150th career win at the 50th annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway on March 14-17.
The Florida weekend will boast some of NHRA’s biggest legends, and John Force is certainly one of them, an iconic driver still competing in the Funny Car ranks.
The 50th anniversary of one of the NHRA’s most storied events will celebrate the pinnacle of the NHRA Legends Tour as well as hosting ‘Unfinished Business’ –an event featuring eight legendary NHRA figures facing off in a head-to-head competition.
Combined, it’s a weekend that has Force excited — especially as he is on the cusp of his 150th win.
“It’s exciting to go back again [to Gainesville], especially knowing that the legends will be there: Joe Amato, Ed McCulloch, Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and so many more,” Force said. “Those are my heroes. To go back there and race in front of all of them — it’s going to be exciting, and I really want to do well.
“I’m going after 150 in career wins and I hope I can do it in front of those who really matter to me: all those fans, the sponsors, and those legends.”
Force has eight victories at Gainesville Raceway, most recently 2017.
“Gainesville has been very good to me over the years. I’ve won eight races there. I’ve crashed there, too — been on fire, been in the burn center. But the crowds — the locals plus all those fans from out of the north looking for warm weather — it’s just unbelievable.”
Force has been solid to open 2019, his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS advancing to the semifinals in Pomona before falling to John Force Racing teammate (and eventual winner and points leader) Robert Hight.
“My car is coming around. It’s fast and it’s showing the numbers,” he said. “It was a good car for my daughter Courtney [who retired from racing this year]. She won four races last year and had 11 No. 1 qualifiers. Her team really loved her, but I’m finally getting to know them all and it’s been going well.”